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A.F.T., University Join in Math Effort

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The American Federation of Teachers and the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center will collaborate on a project to improve mathematics instruction at the elementary- and middle-school levels under a $1.08-million grant from the National Science Foundation

The principal goal of the four-year joint effort, said Dale H. Boatright, the aft's assistant director of educational issues, will be to get the most up-to-date research on mathematics content and teaching into the hands of instructors.

"education problem, namely, the quality of mathematics education in the elementary and middle grades," said Gaea Leinhardt, a senior scientist at the center.

Researchers at the Pittsburgh site, which receives much of its funding from the U.S. Education Department, conduct a range of projects on human learning and instruction.

The collaboration will enable them to share information with classroom teachers through a program that the union operates in more than 200 school districts."

Under the aft's "educational research and dissemination" program, a small group of teachers, working with university researchers, takes research on learning and translates it into ideas and materials that educators can use in the classrooms.

These teachers then train other teachers from aft locals in the research applications, who in turn hare the material with other educators at the district level.

The mathematics program will Lwork the same way, with six aft teachers doing the initial synthesis with the University of Pittsburgh researchers. They will test the ideas and materials in a few selected districts, then share them with educators at the district level.

"Much of the research has already been done," Mr. Boatright said. "But a means for putting this information into the hands of classroom teachers needed to be provided. That is what this program does."

Later in the project, he said, the trainers will let the researchers know how the ideas and materials are working in the classroom, and will suggest new areas for research.

He said the grant money would be used for salaries, the production of the training materials, and costs as sociated with the training itself.

Although the teachers working directly with the research center, and those serving as trainers, will be aft members, the union's locals will not have exclusive access to the materials developed, according to Mr. Boatright. The trainers, he said, "may disseminate the information to any group of professionals requesting Lit."--br

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